Brad Butler (left) of Butler Furniture presents Mountain Home Kindergarten teacher Christy Curtis with the first annual Butler Furniture Teacher Appreciation Award, which includes a $3,000 furniture shopping spree. Jennifer Seaman/MH Public Schools communications
The Mountain Home Kindergarten faculty had an unexpected guest at their recent faculty meeting.
Brad Butler from Butler Furniture stopped by the building to award kindergarten teacher Christy Curtis with a $3,000 furniture shopping spree as a token of his family’s appreciation for her dedication to the students of Mountain Home.
Butler, who taught in Northwest Arkansas for several years before returning to Mountain Home to join the family business, said educators deserve honors like this and more.
“A lot of times the job that you guys do goes unrecognized,” he told the faculty. “My wife and I were both teachers, and I am a product of this school system, and we are just so grateful for the work you do, so we wanted to figure out a way to honor you.”
Butler proposed the idea to Superintendent Dr. Jake Long. Long loved the idea and had each building principal submit a name and description of one deserving teacher from his/her building, and then those descriptions — with all identifying information removed — were sent to Butler.
Butler initially intended to present this award to Curtis during the back-to-school convocation in Dunbar Auditorium — a time when all Mountain Home Public School employees are together. COVID-19 restrictions caused that event to be canceled, but Butler said the challenges teachers are facing this year made it even more important to go ahead and give the award in another format.
Janet Wood, kindergarten principal, says every teacher in her building is deserving of this award.
“Mountain Home Kindergarten is the best school ever, and all our teachers deserve an honor like this,” she says. “But when I was asked to submit one nomination, Christy came to mind instantly, because she is seen as the go-to person in our building and is always willing to help others.”
This year Curtis has taken on a new challenge by serving as the building’s Bomber Virtual Academy teacher. She has 30 students who access their learning remotely, and it is her job to teach them foundational skills at a distance. She also serves as the building’s digital instructional designer.
“She has spent countless hours helping other teachers navigate Canvas, our new Learning Management System,” Wood says. “She has volunteered to input all literacy and math lessons so that teachers can pull from her commons and download to their own assignments. This will save many hours of additional work for her colleagues.”
Curtis, who has taught all 24 years of her career at Mountain Home Kindergarten, was surprised and appreciative when she learned that she had received this award.
“I am so honored to have been chosen to receive the First Annual Butler Furniture Teacher Appreciation award,” she says. “I love teaching at Mountain Home Kindergarten and enjoy taking leadership roles during these challenging times, so that I may support my Kindergarten family whenever possible. Thank you Butler Furniture for this generous gift and your recognition and support of teachers and education.”
Butler says he intends to continue giving this award to one deserving MHPS teacher annually.
“This is the first year, and we plan to continue this gift moving forward,” he says. “We’ll award it in Dunbar in the future where all the faculty and staff can celebrate the winner together.”
Long says he is proud of Curtis and grateful to Butler Furniture for creating this award.
“Mrs. Curtis is a dedicated teacher and colleague,” he says. “She is not afraid to try new things to ensure that her students are learning. It’s incredible when a supporter like Butler Furniture comes forward to recognize our people. We know they’re great, and it means so much when they get recognition from the community they serve as well.”